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Emmy Awards: Jon Hamm breaks his 'Mad Men' losing streak just in time

 Emmy Awards: Jon Hamm breaks his 'Mad Men' losing streak just in time
Jon Hamm keeps a tight grip on his first Emmy Award. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

You know what they say: The eighth time's the charm.

Jon Hamm finally won an Emmy for his role as Don Draper on "Mad Men" after seven previous losses for lead actor in a drama series.

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The win for Hamm — long overdue, according to many — was a fitting sendoff for the acclaimed "Mad Men," which had its series finale in May. The AMC drama told the story of the hard-drinking 1960s advertising executive, an antihero as crucial to the current TV renaissance as "The Sopranos'" Tony Soprano or "Breaking Bad's" Walter White.

Despite his role in creating Don Draper, a character whose relentless philandering and inscrutability inspired "Saturday Night Live" sketches, Hamm had been one of Emmy's most infamous also-rans — even co-hosting a "Losers Only" party with perennial runner-up Amy Poehler.

Emmys 2015: Full coverage

Hamm seemed relieved by the win, crawling onto the stage and joking that there had been a "terrible mistake," before switching to a more earnest tone in his acceptance speech. "This is impossible, it's impossible to be named with all of those extraordinary gentlemen," he said, referring to fellow nominees Kevin Spacey ("House of Cards"), Kyle Chandler ("Bloodline"), Liev Schreiber ("Ray Donovan"), Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul") and Jeff Daniels ("The Newsroom").

"It's impossible to have done this show with this incredible cast, these incredible people, our incredible writers, our incredible crew, the network and the studio who put this on — Lionsgate and AMC."

"We're so happy for Jon Hamm, who took a complex and nuanced character created on the page by Matthew Weiner and turned him into a truly iconic figure in popular culture," said AMC President Charlie Collier in a statement after the awards. "The idea of anyone else playing Don Draper is unimaginable, and that's credit to Jon. How wonderful to see him receive this deserved recognition."

In addition to seven losses for his portrayal of Don Draper, Hamm had also been looked over for his guest roles on "30 Rock" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and for his contributions as a producer on the most recent three seasons of "Mad Men." His total now stands at 16 nominations with just one win.

But backstage at Microsoft Theater, Hamm expressed no bitterness over his years without a win.

"There's so many incredible people and incredible work that has been recognized over my own, and I can't hold a grudge at all," he said. "It's not like they gave it to some guy off the street. There's no animosity or anything like that."

Hamm's win also brought an end to the unprecedented losing streak by the cast of "Mad Men," which now has a track record of one win and 36 losses in the acting categories. His castmates, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks, were both passed over in their respective categories.

"Mad Men" also went home mostly empty-handed for its final, heavily hyped season, losing to the seemingly unstoppable "Game of Thrones," which claimed prizes for writing, series, director and supporting actor, bringing its total to 12 Emmys this year.

But there were nods to "Mad Men" throughout the three-hour telecast on Fox. Hamm showed up in the opening musical number, in which host Andy Samberg joked about the difficulty of keeping up with the many great shows on television. Another bit borrowed from (and arguably spoiled for many) the final scene in the "Mad Men" series finale, which showed Don dreaming up a famous jingle while meditating on a beachside cliff.

While Hamm had plenty to celebrate, at least one notorious losing streak went uninterrupted on Sunday night. Amy Poehler missed her last chance for an Emmy for "Parks and Recreation" — which had its finale in February — losing to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who took home her fourth straight Emmy for "Veep." That brings her total to 16 nominations with 0 wins.

meredith.blake@latimes.com

Times staff writer Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.

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